Contract Jobs Might Be a Good Fit for You
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Amy Lindgren, October 15, 2006
If you have expertise or skills that can be used in a variety of settings, you might be a
good candidate for contract positions. These jobs are short-term by design, ranging from
a few weeks to a couple years.
There are two main ways people work as contractors” by simply selling their services to
the companies that need them, or by signing on with an agency that places contractors
into companies with project needs. In the second instance, you might actually be an
employee of the contract house (or consulting agency), or you might be on-call with
them, ready to work when they have a contract available.
While you might think contractors are mainly used to handle IT projects, quite a few
professions actually make use of this long-term, temporary labor force. You can find
contractors working in everything from accounting to construction management. In my
own case, I have been hired as a contract career counselor to help job search programs
when they experience sudden influxes of laid-off workers.
To analyze whether your skills would work in a contract situation, try to determine if
one-time projects come up in your field, or if employers experience cycles of work that
might make permanent staffing difficult.
Working as a contractor generally includes some very appealing characteristics. You can
command higher per hour rates than if you were on salary, you usually enjoy some
scheduling flexibility, and you get the status of being an expert.
On the down side, you always have the sense of being an outsider, even to the friendliest
organizations. You also bear the brunt of tough deadlines: As the contract, you’re
expected to make things happen, no matter what.
And, if you’re working through a contracting house, you might find that you’re being
doubly supervised. First you have to answer to your manager in the contract house, who
isn’t on site and might not have a full appreciation for t